Minnesota State Parks

The Minnesota State Parks Include One Of The Most Photographed Lighthouses In The Country

There are sixty seven State Parks in Minnesota as well as twenty two state trails, eight state waysides and seven state recreation areas.

This adds up to a massive 267,000 acres of land and it all comes under the control of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

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The system of State Parks in Minnesota is the second oldest in the country after New York`s.

The first of the state parks in Minnesota dates back as far as 1891 when Itasca State Park was created.

It is in this park, at Lake Itasca, that the Mississippi River has its origins. The lake is a National Natural Landmark and the whole park is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Lake Itasca Is The Source Of The Mississippi River

The name for Minnesota comes from the Dakota Native American tribe and can be translated as "sky-tinted water" which is what they called the Minnesota River.

Apart from Alaska, Minnesota is the most northerly of the American states as it has a small portion lying north of the 49th parallel.

The state is sometimes known as the "Land of A Thousand Lakes" and large numbers of the Minnesota State Parks have lakes as their centerpiece.

Indeed Father Hennepin State Park is actually situated on Mille Lacs Lake which translated from the French means Thousand Lakes Lake.

Minnesota is part of the Great Lakes Region and has a shoreline on Lake Superior. Eight of the state parks in Minnesota are to be found here and they include Cascade River State Park, which has over ten miles of shore, Gooseberry Falls State Park and Split Rock Lighthouse State Park. The lighthouse here is a National Historic Landmark and is among the most photographed lighthouses in the country.

The Light At Split Rock Lighthouse State Park On Lake Superior

The last park in the system to be opened was Lake Vermilion State Park in 2010 and with its opening the Department of Natural Resources achieved its aim of having a state park within fifty miles of every resident in the state.

Minnesota has four distinct ecological regions. In the west and south-west is an area of prairie grassland and examples of the Minnesota state parks found on this type of land are Buffalo River State Park and Glacial Lakes State Park.

In the south are Broadleaf Forests which then extend in a narrow band right up into the north-west of the state where they then transition into an area described as Tallgrass Aspen Parkland.

Parks in the forest region are Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park and Myre-Big Island State Park while Lake Bronson State Park is in the parkland area.

The fourth of the regions is called Laurentian Mixed Forest and this is located in the very north of Minnesota. These forest are a vast wilderness of pine and spruce interspersed with stands of birch and poplar.

Minnesota state parks to be found in these north woods include George H.Crosby Manitou State Park, Jay Cooke State Park and Bear Head Lake State Park.

The Minnesota North Woods In Fall

Like every one of the American states, the state parks in Minnesota are all situated in stunning locations and are individually extremely interesting.

However, there are some very unique parks to be found. For example, Charles A.Lindbergh State Park showcases the restored home of where the famous aviator lived with his father. There is also Lac Qui Parle which attracts so many migrating waterfowl that it is easy to see how it gets its name - the "Lake That Speaks."

Two other unique Minnesota State Parks are Soudan Underground Mine State Park which conducts tours around the deepest and richest iron ore mine in the state and the other is Grand Portage State Park, which is the only park in the whole country to be run in collaboration with an Indian Reservation.

Here is a list of the Minnesota State Parks

  • (1) Afton State Park
  • (2) Banning State Park
  • (3) Bear Head Lake State Park
  • (4) Beaver Creek Valley State Park
  • (5) Big Stone Lake State Park
  • (6) Blue Mounds State Park
  • (7) Buffalo River State Park
  • (8) Camden State Park
  • (9) Carley State Park
  • (10)Cascade River State Park
  • (11)Charles A.Lindbergh State Park
  • (12)Crow Wing State Park
  • (13)Father Hennepin State Park
  • (14)Flandrau State Park
  • (15)Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park
  • (16)Fort Ridgely State Park
  • (17)Fort Snelling State Park
  • (18)Franz Jevne State Park
  • (19)Frontenac State Park
  • (20)George H.Crosby Manitou State Park
  • (21)Glacial Lakes State Park
  • (22)Glendalough State Park
  • (23)Gooseberry Falls State Park
  • (24)Grand Portage State Park
  • (25)Great River Bluffs State Park
  • (26)Hayes Lake State Park
  • (27)Hill-Annex Mine State Park
  • (28)Interstate State Park
  • (29)Itasca State Park
  • (30)Jay Cooke State Park
  • (31)John A.Latsch State Park
  • (32)Judge C.R.Magney State Park
  • (33)Kilen Woods State Park
  • (34)Lac Qui Parle State Park

  • (35)Lake Bemidji State Park
  • (36)Lake Bronson State Park
  • (37)Lake Carlos State Park
  • (38)Lake Louise State Park
  • (39)Lake Maria State Park
  • (40)Lake Shetek State Park
  • (41)Lake Vermilion State Park
  • (42)Maplewood State Park
  • (43)McCarthy Beach State Park
  • (44)Mille Lacs Kathio State Park
  • (45)Minneopa State Park
  • (46)Monson Lake State Park
  • (47)Moose Lake State Park
  • (48)Myre-Big Island State Park
  • (49)Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park
  • (50)Old Mill State Park
  • (51)Rice Lake State Park
  • (52)St.Croix State Park
  • (53)Sakatah Lake State Park
  • (54)Savanna Portage State Park
  • (55)Scenic State Park
  • (56)Schoolcraft State Park
  • (57)Sibley State Park
  • (58)Soudan Underground Mine State Park
  • (59)Split Rock Creek State Park
  • (60)Split Rock Lighthouse State Park
  • (61)Temperance River State Park
  • (62)Tettegouche State Park
  • (63)Upper Sioux Agency State Park
  • (64)Whitewater State Park
  • (65)Wild River State Park
  • (66)William O`Brien State Park
  • (67)Zippel Bay State Park

And here are their positions indicated on a map of Minnesota -